The life narratives in this collection are by ethnically diverse women of energy and ambition—some well known, some forgotten over generations—who confronted barriers of gender, class, race, and sexual difference as they pursued or adapted to adventurous new lives in a rapidly changing America. The engaging selections—from captivity narratives to letters, manifestos, criminal confessions, and childhood sketches—span a hundred years in which women increasingly asserted themselves publicly. Some rose to positions of prominence as writers, activists, and artists; some sought education or wrote to support themselves and their families; some transgressed social norms in search of new possibilities. Each woman’s story is strikingly individual, yet the brief narratives in this anthology collectively chart bold new visions of women’s agency.
This pathbreaking anthology is an illuminating look at the lives of ten influential twentieth-century American women and at the challenges experienced by the women who have written about them. Exploring the frequently complicated dialogue between writer and subject, the contributors uncover tools appropriate to writing women's biography and reveal, in often riveting accounts, how feminist scholarship led them to approach women's lives in unconventional ways.
"This wonderful collection demonstrates the significance of women's biography as a central part of feminist scholarship. The feminist biographer inserts a second life into a biography, her own, giving us yet another layer of depth and insight." - Ann J. Lane, author of To "Herland" and Beyond: The Life and Work of Charlotte Perkins Gilman
How do memoirists make their work interesting, daring, exciting, and unorthodox enough so that they attract an audience, yet not so heinous and scandalous that their readers are unable to empathize or identify with them? In Justifiable Conduct, renowned sociologist Erich Goode explores the different strategies memoirists use to "neutralize" their alleged wrongdoing and fashion a more positive image of themselves for audiences. He examines how writers, including James Frey, Susan Cheever, Roman Polanski, Charles Van Doren and Elia Kazan, explain, justify, contextualize, excuse, or warrant their participation in activities such as criminal behavior, substance abuse, sexual transgressions, and political radicalism.
Using a theory of deviance neutralization, Goode assesses the types of behavior exhibited by these memoirists to draw out generic narratives that are most effective in attempting to absolve the actor-author. Despite the highly individualistic and variable lives of these writers, Goode demonstrates that memoirists use a conventional vocabulary for their unconventional behavior.
Learning Legacies explores the history of cross-cultural teaching approaches, to highlight how women writer-educators used stories about their collaborations to promote community-building. Robbins demonstrates how educators used stories that resisted dominant conventions and expectations about learners to navigate cultural differences. Using case studies of educational initiatives on behalf of African American women, Native American children, and the urban poor, Learning Legacies promotes the importance of knowledge grounded in the histories and cultures of the many racial and ethnic groups that have always comprised America’s populace, underscoring the value of rich cultural knowledge in pedagogy by illustrating how creative teachers still draw on these learning legacies today.
How can we know what another human being is like in some meaningful, dynamic way? Can we distill the signature-like features of an individual personality? What is the relationship between personal experience and our attempts to describe the person who has that experience? This work by a highly respected senior psychologist is an effort to answer these questions. Irving E. Alexander presents a case for considering the personal narrative of a human life as the most compelling aspect of that life to be decoded and understood. In part a critique of an exclusive reliance on general theories about the development of personality and ways of knowing based primarily on comparison with others, Personology is illustrated with material drawn from the lives, personal writings, and theories of Freud, Jung, and Sullivan. Alexander develops new insights into the lives of these men and offers methods and guidelines for investigating and teaching personology and psychobiography.
Psychobiography and Life Narratives explores a number of exciting new approaches to the psychological understanding of individual lives. Eleven prominent scholars in personality and social, developmental, and clinical psychology have contributed chapters presenting innovative perspectives on discerning and developing “the story of my life” that each person tells and lives by. Five chapters show how differing psychobiographical approaches can illuminate the lives of Richard Nixon, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Eleanor Marx (Karl Marx’s youngest daughter), author and feminist Vera Brittain, psychologist Henry Murray, and Sigmund Freud (whose peculiar relationship to Leonardo da Vinci shaped and distorted the first psychobiography every written). Two chapters concentrate on the analysis of life histories collected from contemporary American adults at mid-life crises, and the remaining three chapters provide bold new conceptual and methodological perspectives from which to view the study of individual lives and life stories. This landmark volume promises to make a major contribution to the growing literature on biography and personality.
Contributors. Irving E. Alexander, James William Anderson, Leslie A. Carlson, Rae Carlson, Alan C. Elms, Carol Franz, Lynne Layton, Dan P. McAdams, Richard L. Ochberg, George C. Rosenwald, William McKinley Runyan, Abigail G. Stewart, Jacquelyn Wiersma, David G. Winter
This volume expands the intellectual exchange between researchers working on the Holocaust and post-Holocaust life and North American sociologists working on collective memory, diaspora, transnationalism, and immigration. The collection is comprised of two types of essays: primary research examining the Shoah and its aftermath using the analytic tools prominent in recent sociological scholarship, and commentaries on how that research contributes to ongoing inquiries in sociology and related fields.
Contributors explore diasporic Jewish identities in the post-Holocaust years; the use of sociohistorical analysis in studying the genocide; immigration and transnationalism; and collective action, collective guilt, and collective memory. In so doing, they illuminate various facets of the Holocaust, and especially post-Holocaust, experience. They investigate topics including heritage tours that take young American Jews to Israel and Eastern Europe, the politics of memory in Steven Spielberg’s collection of Shoah testimonies, and the ways that Jews who immigrated to the United States after the collapse of the Soviet Union understood nationality, religion, and identity. Contributors examine the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 in light of collective action research and investigate the various ways that the Holocaust has been imagined and recalled in Germany, Israel, and the United States. Included in the commentaries about sociology and Holocaust studies is an essay reflecting on how to study the Holocaust (and other atrocities) ethically, without exploiting violence and suffering.
Contributors. Richard Alba, Caryn Aviv, Ethel Brooks, Rachel L. Einwohner, Yen Le Espiritu, Leela Fernandes, Kathie Friedman, Judith M. Gerson, Steven J. Gold , Debra R. Kaufman, Rhonda F. Levine , Daniel Levy, Jeffrey K. Olick, Martin Oppenheimer, David Shneer, Irina Carlota Silber, Arlene Stein, Natan Sznaider, Suzanne Vromen, Chaim Waxman, Richard Williams, Diane L. Wolf
In this engrossing memoir, poet and literacy scholar Eli Goldblatt shares the intimate ways reading and writing influenced the first thirty years of his life—in the classroom but mostly outside it. Writing Home: A Literacy Autobiography traces Goldblatt’s search for home and his growing recognition that only through his writing life can he fully contextualize the world he inhabits.
Goldblatt connects his educational journey as a poet and a teacher to his conception of literacy, and assesses his intellectual, emotional, and political development through undergraduate and postgraduate experiences alongside the social imperatives of the era. He explores his decision to leave medical school after he realized that he could not compartmentalize work and creative life or follow in his surgeon father’s footsteps. A brief first marriage rearranged his understanding of gender and sexuality, and a job teaching in an innercity school initiated him into racial politics. Literacy became a dramatic social reality when he witnessed the start of the national literacy campaign in postrevolutionary Nicaragua and spent two months finding his bearings while writing poetry in Mexico City.
Goldblatt presents a thoughtful and exquisitely crafted narrative of his life to illustrate that literacy exists at the intersection of individual and social life and is practiced in relationship to others. While the concept of literacy autobiography is a common assignment in undergraduate and graduate writing courses, few books model the exercise. Writing Home helps fill that void and, with Goldblatt’s emphasis on “out of school” literacy, fosters an understanding of literacy as a social practice.